Especially for what you don’t want.
by Neil Jenman
Reading time: Apx 5 mins
Last week, my wife and I went for dinner at a Thai restaurant. It looked good from the outside. But appearances are not always reality.
We ordered mixed vegetables with chicken.
When the meal arrived, it was mixed vegetables with beef. Not a chook in sight.
The waiter apologised. He took the meal and said he’d be back.
Less than a minute later, he was back. With the same meal – beef not chicken as ordered.
He said: “The chef says that even though the meal is wrong, it still has to be paid for.”
Although she looked flustered, my wife meekly said, “Okay.”
Now, my wife is the nicest person I know – or have ever known. Like many people, she doesn’t like confrontation. It takes something more serious than a wrong meal to rile her up.
But not me. I could not believe what was happening. The nerve of these people – the chef or the owner or whoever expected us to pay for something we didn’t want.
WAS THE WAITER AN EX-AGENT?
I said to the waiter: “You must have worked in real estate.”
He looked puzzled.
I explained: “Well, agents always make people pay for things they don’t want, don’t need, and don’t request. Just like you are doing.”
I then handed the waiter a book I was reading. It was by the famed lawyer, Marcia Clark.
The waiter stared at the book. I said: “Don’t worry, I’ll get another copy. This one’s for you. The price is $50. How do you wish to pay?”
The irony was lost on him because he said: “I don’t want to buy the book.”
To which I replied, “And we don’t want to buy the beef.”
It was a stand-off.
In the waiter’s defence, he was young and clearly inexperienced (with life). He looked lost.
So, I explained things to him. I said: “It’s illegal to make people pay for something they don’t want and didn’t ask for. You can’t do that to us – or anybody. It doesn’t matter what your boss says. What matters is what’s right. We asked for chicken. Not beef. We are not going to pay for something we didn’t ask for.”
“Just as you don’t want to pay for that book, do you?”
Of course, we did not pay for the beef. We got our chicken.
Later, when we finished the meal, we paid and went home.
UNWANTED ADVERTISING COSTS.
The most common rip-off in real estate is needless advertising costs. Rarely is advertising needed to sell a home. And, even if it is needed, Australia’s agents are the only agents in the world who expect sellers to pay massive advertising costs plus massive commission costs.
And yet most sellers do what my dear wife almost did: They pay for something they don’t want. Or need.
All agents know that, in most cases, they already have buyers on their books that would likely buy any home. If not, they can do what any honourable employee does in any job – work.
Instead of placing ads and waiting for calls, good agents make calls. They ring around. They chase leads. They check out sources. Finally, they find the best buyer. All without the unwanted cost of needless advertising.
There’s a saying: “Advertising is what salespeople do when they are too lazy to follow leads.”
These days, as well as lazy, many agents are arrogant and selfish. And bullies. They refuse to list homes unless sellers pay advertising costs. It doesn’t matter if these costs are needed or wanted by sellers, agents refuse to list a home unless they get advertising money. Or unless they get sellers to agree to pay advertising costs regardless of whether the home sells or not.
Why do so many agents act so unethically with advertising? The reason is simple: Agents are using advertising to promote themselves not homes.
Think about what you likely did – maybe you saw the most prominent agent and thought that “prominence means successful”. But no, most times, the biggest advertisers are the biggest sharks in the real estate ocean.
Of course, sellers are never told the real reason for advertising. Thousands of sellers are bullied into paying for failure. Their lack of experience makes them susceptible to the sophistry of the agents who use guilt lines, such as: “It’s your home, you should pay the advertising costs.”
Oh – and who gets the commission from leads created by advertising paid by the sellers? The selfish agents, of course.
Don’t fall for it.
Don’t pay for what you don’t need.
UNWANTED COMMISSION COSTS.
The same applies with the commission.
One of the biggest problems for sellers (aside from finding an honest and competent agent) is that most agents have different agendas from home sellers. The sellers’ agenda is to sell their home for a good price. The agents’ agenda is to sell the home. At any price.
So, again, here’s how thousands of sellers pay for what they don’t want. Before they sign-up, the agent says their home is worth a certain price. The agent also states the commission rate.
But later, when the price is pushed down, when the agent has put the sellers through weeks of “conditioning” and the sellers are urged to accept a price which is tens – or hundreds – of thousands of dollars below the price they wanted, guess what happens?
The agents get their full commission.
Sellers are forced to pay for what they didn’t want.
Let’s be clear: You should not pay for what you do not want. If you later decide to sell your home for less than the agent first quoted, and you are sure the agent has “conditioned” you, you should insist on the agent doing what you are doing. Drop their price.
If you must drop your price, get the agent to drop their commission. If not, don’t sell.
When you go to a restaurant, you usually pay at the end – after you’ve enjoyed the meal you ordered. You don’t order chicken, get beef, and then meekly pay. Few people would do that.
And yet, when it comes to real estate, thousands of sellers every week are forced (“bullied” and “bluffed”) into paying for what they don’t want.
For years, I have been telling sellers, “Don’t Sign Anything!”. What I mean is: Don’t sign anything unless you are protected.
In addition to “don’t sign anything”, I need to say three more words: “DON’T PAY ANYTHING”.
At least not until you get what you want.
If you don’t get what you want, don’t pay. Or make sure you get a hefty discount.
Don’t pay for beef if you want chicken.
Don’t pay anything – until you get what you want. That’s not mean. Tough maybe, but better to be tough than to be ripped-off, which is what most agents try to do to sellers.
Only in Australia.
But not to you and your family.
FOOTNOTE: If you need an agent who won’t rip you off by forcing you to pay for something you don’t want, please let us know. We compile names of agents who agree to our 8 PROTECTION POINTS for Home Sellers.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 1800 1800 18. Thank you.